Private. Keep Out.
We can talk about the physical symptoms of menopause quite easily, I find.
Do you? We can chat about them, and laugh them off.
We even tend to be reasonably comfortable sharing these physical experiences.
But what about the emotional issues? The sense of sadness and loss? The struggle to adapt to this life transition? What about the change in how we see ourselves? And our relationship, the intimacy?
How do we make sense of this part of our lives?
Who can we talk to about these deeper changes? There is so much that is hidden. If we don’t feel ‘safe’ talking about it, we hide it. Do you ever wonder ...
...what happens to all the unspoken, the unacknowledged, and the unprocessed thoughts and feelings?
Do you ever wonder about the effects of keeping them hidden?
I do. I work with women everyday who are experiencing the effects. The process of releasing these painful feelings is incredible. I can see it in their faces.
So this little blog is to offer you some comfort. You are not alone. The way you feel at this life stage is real. It is valid. And to grow through it all, we need the right conditions... we need a psychologically safe space to talk.
Can we create that for each other? In or out the counselling room. Can we lead by example, do you think? Often when we open up a little it gives ‘permission’ for the other person to do the same. Hidden feelings fester and make us unwell. There is another way.
Perhaps these words here can be experienced as a gentle acknowledgment that painful thoughts and feelings are understandable at this time of our lives.
What I Can’t See Won’t Harm Me...
...will it? Its a widely held belief - what I can’t see won’t harm me. So, I’m sure as heck not going looking for it.
If we think about it, isn’t this what we say and how we think and feel? We turn away. From ‘it’.
We distract ourselves with drink, busyness, buying things... overworking, overeating, overspending. We distract ourselves by filling every nook and cranny with activities. The more the better!
‘It’. What is the it? People talk about it, in counselling, a lot.
It’s really got to me.
It’s reached the point now where it’s just too much...
However hard I try, I can’t get away from it.
I don’t want to talk about it.
I’m just so sick of it.
I just can’t fight it any longer.
I just want it gone.
And so on.
Now it’s a tricky situation. Because on the one hand we want IT gone.
On the other hand we won’t look at IT. Result - Stale mate. High Anxiety.
Another widely held belief is something along the lines of :
It happened. I can’t change it, so why talk about it?
Here’s my take. Whatever IT we are trying to avoid, run from or drown out, isn’t budging. These are known as unresolved issues in counsellor speak. Which is simply hurt that was repressed at the time, and is still here now. IT hasn’t gone away, and IT won’t go away.
Until we look at it.
In fact the longer these unresolved issues are avoided, the more they break out in symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, OCD. And the worse bit? We then up the anti with our avoidance techniques, so, spend more, do more, drink more.
So what now? Honestly, we simply need to turn to face the IT. With a counsellor, preferably. Once we see it, talk about it, feel it, then the effects lessen. It’s quite incredible.
Ponder this - if you’re struggling, then there’s a reason. Avoiding the reason because it has already happened will not make it go away.
We wish it did. But that’s not how it works.